The Backpack & Africa Travel Centre Award winning hostel in Cape Town Sun, 27 Nov 2016 10:02:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Rope Skipping Nationals Competition Tue, 10 Nov 2015 12:38:45 +0000 On the 3rd October 2015 our Rope skipping team left for Pretoria to compete in the National championships representing Western Province.

7 of our girls competed in the Rope skipping competition and made us extremely proud. As they received 9 medals altogether either placing them 1st 2nd or 3rd.

The 7 girls came back with 3 gold, 3 Silver and 3 Bronze Medals.  Hence how tough the competition was competing against 3 to 4 other provinces.

The girls were extremely nervous but well prepared as they have been training extremely hard for this competition in specific. For most of them the experience of being on a flight and being out of Cape Town was a first. Their reaction to the trip and the experience at the competition was Priceless.

It is always amazing to see how one event that might seem normal to many people can change a child’s view on life. These girls come from a community where people stick to the norm or the ordinary which is Drug addiction, alcohol abuse and for girls teenage Pregnancy.

The girls had so much fun and made so much new friends. They behaved themselves well and are extremely grateful to everyone who contributed towards making it possible for them to go and compete at the rope skipping competition.

Below indicates the hidden smiles on the girl’s faces after they have received their medals at the competition.
The girls stayed in a hostel called “Bumbo Cares” Hostel where the people were extremely friendly and helpful, and they loved every moment of it especially the part where they could swim almost every day as it was extremely hot in Pretoria so the pool did them good.

The drive to Pretoria was long and tiring but the flight back was Amazing. New Experience for the girls as well as new challenges that awaits them for pushing to compete in higher levels than the ones they competed in this year.

2016 definitely holds a great year ahead for these determined and hardworking girls. They are a lovely group of girls to work with and their smiles are priceless.

To everyone who contributed towards this trip to Pretoria we say THANK YOU for choosing to make a difference.

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Brighter future Thu, 17 Sep 2015 03:55:25 +0000 Despite the various obstacles we face in life be it in our homes,schools,communities etc. We as youngsters chose to make a difference in our younger generations lives. As some of you might know myself and Anushqah “on your left hand side” started with the Gcu project when we were 8years old “Babies” if not younger! We started out with “Rope skipping” got our Western Province colours in Rope skipping and travelled here and there through the Skipping program, we also played soccer for a while then both of us became a lil unfit and are now a bit in shape hahaha. Anyway, with the project we had the opportunity that many children don’t have. We thought we might never get an opportunity like such! Guess what? We got on an aeroplane for our first time ever!!! We went to Jozi, Durban, Pretoria 😐 i know its not out of the country BUT How cool is that!?.?

In the middle we have “Tamaryn” who started joining us few years ago and has recently started coaching with Anushqah and Myself. When i was in Matric last year i had to much to do so I couldn’t really fit the project in but I joined the project as soon as I was done with all my Exams.

I started studying HRM this year, Anushqah and Tamaryn are currently in Matric! The Backpack which is our Rope skipping sponsors has played a huge role in our growth system and how we managed to get fees to pay for college or school etc. The Backpack is also the place where i’ve been working for 4 years now and I totally love my job! Toni, Lee, Mary,Melanie and the rest of the Backpack family have been more than good to myself and the girls and boys of GCU… Sometimes you can just sit and wonder where you will ever find people like them in the world we live in today?♥!! Well Guess what?We found them and Up till today we still belong to the project! As to where  Myself, Anushqah and Tamaryn have recently started Running the program. The Thing is we see so much going on in the community but very few of us will do something about it! So here we are giving back to our community by reaching out to our future leaders! Starting with the Kids!  Giving them tutoring classes and keeping them active and focussed on their goals. In our community like various other communities it is very rare that the drunk mother or the abusive father takes time off to sit with their children and read or help them with their school work. We can’t step in and be those childrens parents and take over the duties of their parents BUT we can be the light in their lives and show them the way forward. We know we can’t change the world on our own…We don’t have super powers either but we have experienced enough to make us wise and that Makes us STRONG independent women! Remember doing something small for someone can change the way they live,think and dream 🙂 We can do ALL Things :* #FutureLeaders #GoalGetters #BrighterFutures

Molo Cape Town! Fri, 08 Feb 2013 13:18:04 +0000 Sometimes in life, an important part of the journey lies in its reflection.

Having delayed my journey by two days, I finally found myself at The Backpack with a swollen up foot which I had badly bandaged, after fighting off a minor foot infection from the previous weekend’s shenanigans.

The day had been a long and hot one, after spending it walking through SA’s oldest township known as Langa, with Imivuyo tours. The sun had been as fierce as the wind. I was hungry and exhausted.

I was more than relieved to settle down to a comfortable room and just be for a while. I was booked to leave on the Baz Bus early the following morning which was to take me to Lungile Backpackers in Port Elizabeth, where I would spend the night in transition before making my next stop at the Buccaneers Lodge and Backpackers in Chintsa.

So there I sat, wrapping my mind around what I had just seen in the township, at the foot of Table of Mountain in this award-winning 5 star establishment which boasted killer views in the peachy Cape Town sunset.

I set up my computer and camera gear outside in the covered communal area, where I was greeted by curious tourists asking to see my pictures from the day’s excursion. A special cosy gathering space, a number of other guests joined me on my venture of surfing the free internet access; others sat in clusters enjoying beers in the last of the day’s heat; and some were in search of allies to accompany them on their night-time excursion to Long Street (one of the CPT’s party hostpots) a mere 5 minute walk from The Backpack.

Next thing I knew it was 22h00. I had gotten so carried away by the people that I had forgotten to feed the monster in my belly. Although The Backpack does not cater dinner for its guests, it is easy enough to nip-off to some of Cape Town’s groovy local restaurants for a late bite to eat. I would recommend Rafiki’s at the top of Kloof Street where I found myself that night, on the balcony overlooking the busy street. People (local and foreign) rejoiced around me in Friday festivity. My beer and pizza arrived, and as the waiter dropped it in front of me flashing a brilliant white smile and my belly belched in anticipation, I struggled to get started.

Today I had seen people of different ages, races, cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. I watched these people live and learn how to deal with the harsh realities that they are faced with each and every day.

I made my way home with a full tummy – a 2 minute illuminated walk before entering the security of The Backpack. I climbed my way into the cosy bed with the soft pillows and shut my eyes listening to the guests who were still awake, splashing around in the swimming pool outside my window.

As I listened to the laughter, my thoughts drifted.
How could I even begin to complain about my middle to upper class lifestyle?
Somewhere, maybe 20 minutes away from me, there is a child who has gone to sleep without food in its tummy. Somewhere out there was a person who was sleeping out on the street without the comfort of the cosy bed with the soft pillows, without the safety and security of a home to sleep in. And what could I do about it – just one small person in such a big world of problems? Where do I even begin?

I felt a slight sense of ease wash over me when I remembered that backpacks and lodges such as The Backpack which are Fair Trade accredited, use a portion of the money which you spend at their establishments to create positive impacts which benefit the communities (the local people and the environment) which surround them. These transactions are all transparent. If you find yourself questioning where the money is going to, you are free to ask.

I slept comfortably. It was the first night my infected foot had not throbbed. I will be back at The Backpack on my return to Cape Town where I will be able to review the establishment with more time.
If this was only the first day of my month long trip, I wonder what the rest of my journey has installed for me. From here on out, everything is about the experience.

Presentation to the Pilot Team for the City of Cape Towns Responsible Tourism Pilot Project Tue, 17 Apr 2012 13:43:34 +0000 I was asked to do a presentation on what Recycling means to us at the City of Cape Town’s Responsible Tourism Pilot Project – Some of the challenges we encounter (like having to get up in front of a group of people and speak has to be my biggest challenge!) – the good the bad and the difficult obstacles that we endure daily. Afterwards I was asked by some of the delegates to share my thoughts so I thought if anyone wants to have a gander they could find it here on our blog. So here goes……
Where do I start ??? there’s so much to do – it all seems so overwhelming- just thinking about recycling can send anyone into a depression.
Here are some suggestions: Start small take one step at a time. I can guarantee, you will fail along the way but don’t give up!
You might start to find yourself buried under plastic bottles, bins full of them, alley ways full of them and not know how to stop the huge wave of them, being scared to stop selling water as it means you could lose a huge revenue stream.
Finding space where to put all the stuff that quickly gathers a momentum of its own.
The look and feel of recycling –it is so hard finding something hip and funky to put it in so your guests actually see it and use it. It sort of does have to be in your face and even then it’s a challenge to put the cigarette stompies (butts) in the ashtray provided!!
Finding the right company to recycle with – this takes time and money and has teething problems! Eventually you might find the right company that works for you. Stick with them as long as possible they are like hens teeth.
The cost of recycling or being green – is not always cheap. In fact it’s really rather expensive especially when you retrofit and not custom build. Trying to work out if you are ever going to recoup the money you spent – you probably won’t for next umpteen years but you will sleep better and know you have shown your kids, your friends and your parents a different way.
Educating yourself and your staff is a huge challenge. Using the recycling in the best possible way and not the laziest easiest way. For example I had a look in the Sappi bin the other day when the team was filming at the Backpack (for the RT workshop video) and we needed “waste paper” to put in the bin and found it full of very expensive brochures that would be quite fine to be back on the shelf and used again. At a cost of about R35.00 per brochure I am sure all the travel companies would love it if all their outlets were able to recycle brochures. Our staff are happy to put them in the bin and “recycle” them to the paper trash. That is the easy way out. That is not the idea behind recycling.
Some things we wouldn’t do again:
Buy the can crusher that cost an arm and ten legs without seeing it fully operational!
The solar lights at the home fair exhibition that work for the duration of the show but not once installed along your footpath.
Start on all fronts and go big. It’s about being sustainable. So if it means getting those Sappi bins in, collecting bottle tops or starting a worm farm with just a few bins do that.
You feel great!!!You get to meet the coolest people – look around here. I love my egg man and his wife they are such lekker people – they deliver the eggs and take back the trays, my friend’s sister who makes our organic cleaning products and the guy who comes to fetch our oil to make his diesel. Perhaps it is because we are small compared to the big hotels that we can use people that can’t handle big companies – we know those suppliers and trust in what they are doing, that they are coming from the same ethos as us.
Once you start cutting down and you do manage to do a lot of things better it’s such a natural high. You can’t beat the feeling!
We are making a better place for everyone. Since I have started on our journey at work I have carried this into my home and don’t buy from big chain stores as much as I used to with all the packaging that we pay for and then it becomes our responsibility to dispose of it.
Create jobs and awareness not only recycling jobs but crafting (e.g. bottle tops and coke cans) community cooking as in start up tours in the Bo Kaap – who ever thought we would be making cook sisters with Tannie Aminah in her kitchen 10 years ago!
People who inspire me
1. Firstly it’s my business partner Toni as she is never scared of a challenge – she has taught me that it’s no shame to fail and have tried. And boy I can tell you there are many things forgotten along the way that we tried and failed at but eventually you will find the way that is right for your company.
2. Paula Thompson from Woza Moya –who started a respite centre for people who came to die and then when they got better had to create work for them to keep them sustained and started her beading project and food garden there are now over 200 crafters there.
3. Rosie from Baphumelele – who we have watched grow exponentially and when you see that little baby girl of two months old being fed, burped and loved makes you feel you are never doing enough!
4. Pat Featherstone – who is a wonderful gardener and awesome teacher and if you ever get the chance do a weekend course with her at Soil For Life don’t hesitate do and take everyone in your family your children, your housekeeper your gardener as her classes are understandable by everyone.
5. Road trips through South Africa – take the back roads, the road less travelled -they are so inspiring, so creative and so exciting.

The Silver Bullets Road Trip Fri, 17 Feb 2012 03:33:48 +0000 To wake up each morning and to recognize that Lee and I have THE BEST JOB IN THE WORLD is an understatement and a privilege! We have been travelling around the Eastern Cape for 14 days – Lee and co-pilot joined me on Day 7.

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Day 1;
Tai (my son) and I set off along the Garden Route to Myoli Beach (AFRO VIBE BACKPACKERS). It was awesome – on the beach, on the sand, with insane views of the beach. kite surfing, wake boarding, paragliding, surfing, diving, you name it they have it – a pro adventure operation,Phili Phili like I have not seen in South Africa. Lyle and Niels and all their staff were amazing. Young, fun and making a difference with their sport and mentorship program. The rooms were great, with awesome views. Delicious food served in the cafe. You need at least 2 days here.

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Day 2 & 3: St Francis Bay to a family friend who owns the most magnificent Beach House THE BEACH HOUSE ST FRANCIS BAY.
This old money chic Beach House is self-catering, comes with the most amazing chef, Sylvia and a housekeeper, Caroline who can arrange your shopping too if you like! Petrea and Lionel are world travellers and a must-to-meet couple.
From R10 000 per night sleeps 10 you will not be disappointed.

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Day 4,5 & 6 Grahamstown – University Town. Stayed at High Cape Corner Guest House – simple, friendly and clean. Mad Hatters Cafe next door is probably the best place to eat. Closed at night.

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Day 7 & 8: Caught a shuttle to Port Alfred to catch the Baz Bus. My first Baz Bus ever and boy I was blown away. Bus driver Jay has been working for the Baz Bus for 15 years. He is an absolute gem. Has a heart of gold – delivering bread daily to an impoverished village, subsidising it with his own money . He has many social outreach projects. Try sit up front – he is so excited about life, his job and his country. The Baz Bus is an excellent way to travel. Door to door. My word what else could an independent traveller ask for? Dropped off at one of my favourite spots, Bucanneers. Everyone loves this place and it is not hard to see why. (review on TA)

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Day 9 & 10: Setting off to Bulungula. Such excitement! 2 hours after leaving Bucanneers we arrived at Qunu, one of the 3 Nelson Mandela Museums. Wow! The lookout point is simply breath taking. The free guide tells you where Madiba lives, where he went to church & school and where he threw rocks from his favourite playing spot. A thought provoking art exhibition is the cherry on top. Artists trained at the museum. The drive to Coffee Bay is long and hard. You have to imagine playing a video game – perhaps called the Transkei Adventure – mind the goats, cows, donkeys while you are dodging the traffic overtaking you on the inside. Its an exciting ride. DO IT ON A SUNDAY! Dave from Bulungula says you can drive your car all the way to Bulungula car park. However, I would check first . If it has been raining I would never do it!

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Bulungula is MY NEW FAVOURITE PLACE – it is leading all of us in SA by being the fairest product of all. My review on Tripadvisor:
My words cannot describe my experience of Bulungula. On arrival we were given a tour of the rocket showers and compost toilets. Not only was it the best shower I have had throughout my whistle stop tour of the Wild Coast but Bulungula was spotless. No need for mirrors.

Bulungula operates at it’s own pace.

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Delicious pancakes served on the dunes at 4.30 at R30, Fishing at 8 am with Mkuseli R50 no luck with a fish but yet another opportunity to engage with the community. 10.30 am a vist to the Bulungula Incubator. The hub of social activism from their well looked after and organized pre school. A delicious lunch of Xhosa bread and jam. The menu is simple, the food is cheap and delicious. An afternoon massage R100 definitely well spent and sunset fishing. Everyone working at Bulungula is chosen by the community! I have never experienced a commercial tourist venture of this nature anywhere on my travels. Bulungula is Ethical, responsible, sustainable and so much fun. Totally synchronized with its surroundings. You can choose from so many activities: canoe, horse riding, visit to the village, woman power, hiking. You pay the guides directly.

You can do it all or just soak it all up. Check out their handmade craft – lemon grass soap , stylish bags, felt hats clothing, walking sticks, beads and water bottle crochet carriers. It is my new favorite place.

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Day 11 – Walk to Wild Lubanzi
3 Silver Bullets, Dave, Rejane and our guide Molwane set off at 11.
If we can do the hike, well then so can you! We had delicious sandwiches made at Bulungula for lunch and arrived at Wild Lubanzi around 3.30. Lubanzi is clean and friendly. They made a hearty meal for us all. The highlight was the bread making lesson at 6am with Rahel, Aidon’s wife. The only downside to this place, was the lack of community involvement after leaving Bulungula. I guess it was a shock for me. However, the bed was comfy, the view was awesome and an excellent overnighter on the hike to Coffee Bay.

HIKING TIP IF YOU ARE ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT OF THE BAZ BUS: Catch the shuttle to Coffee Bay and get Bulungula to pick you up. If you are planning to hike start at Coffee Bay, overnight at Wild Lubanzi and then onto Bulungula. Make sure you do it this way around – to end up at Bulungula. Tip: Guides – they get ALL the guiding fees, if you book a guide from Bulungula. The guide will walk to Coffee Bay to pick you up. We used Molwan – he is also a canoeing guide. Batman is one of the more well known guides and he LOVES helicopters.

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DAY 12:
Coffee Bay is not for sissies. If you love psychedelic colours and all things from Goa, then you have to go to Coffee Bay. Coffee Bay has a variety of accommodation, if you are not wanting to party and go wild and want a comfortable bed and good food, we recommend you stay at Sugar Loaf.

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If you want to party you can choose between BOMVU BACKPACKERS which has had a serious facelift and crazy Karl has been banished to his drumming and travelling and his daughter Denise has taken it over. The layout is amazing, the food is good and the staff are super friendly. I heard some of the best drumming I have ever heard.

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COFFEE SHACK is where we stayed. Book the “ENSUITE” which is across the river and away from the party. They make great coffees and all their staff are incredibly friendly. Plus they are Fair Trade so you know your money is ending up in a good place.

Day 13: Off to Hogsback and Away with the Fairies. The drive takes about 5 hours and if you are interested in SA’s political history you will enjoy the ride through Dutywa, Butterworth, Bisho (where Steve Bikos’s remembrance grave is), King Williamstown, Alice and Hogsback. Stunning views from Away with the Fairies. A great place to hike, mountain bike and look for fairies. The backpacker could do with a facelift. Book Fodors Nest if you stay there or try TERRA KHAYA an eco lodge 5kms out of town.

Hogsback, Fort Beaufort ( Fort Hare University – the only University where Black South Africans could attend during Apartheid. Both Nelson Mandela and Steve Biko graduated here), Adelaide, Bedford, Cradock. We tried to visit the Remembrance Garden of the Craddock Four. One of us spooked while driving through an enormous cemetery so we turned around! Damn!!

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Day 14: Owl House Nieu Bethesda – you Have to go there. The drive in (we took the dirt road) is worth it. A village in the middle of no where made famous because of a crazy, creative and awesome artit Helen Martin. Photos can’t describe this place. Our hosts, Ian and Katrin are characters and have created so many beautiful spaces, from their craft shop, restaurant – Ian you are a Master Chef mate, pub and of course the variety of accommodation they offer. Lee reckons you have the STYLISH BACKPACKERS IN SOUTH AFRICA, and I reckon you have the best beds, pillows and you get simplicity right. Their craft is simply amazing – the cheapest mohair scarves (R120)

Day 15: Lee has to be the best driver and finally I have learnt that the backseat is a much better place for me and the driver. I am the world’s best backseat driver. The roads, or ribbons as Lee refers to, are incredible. There are so few cars, no trucks, taxis and the sheer emptiness of the roads, allows you to really enjoy the open spaces.

We woke up early, and thankfully Ian found us petrol and some rather handsome farmers place. Went back to the N9 along a tar road (so there are 2 ways into Nieu –Bethesda). The Silver Bullets cruised into the Valley of Desolation. A breeze in our flip flops and parasoles. Snakes –concurring our fears. It is simply breath taking and I can only imagine what the Four Corners must be like.

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We glided through Graaf Reniet, Aberdeen, Willowmore, De Rust (direction), Prince Albert. -The craft shopping along the way is just the best. The tannie at The Dagga Boer Farmstall half way between Aberdeen and Willowore reckons she only sells Dagga before 6am and that day she had sold out! The craft in her shop was the best prices for mohair shawls – for a beautiful shawl/blanket.

We visited the Jewish cemetery – it was the most well kept, pretty Jewish Cemetry I have been to.  Ian recommended we stop and have lunch at Sophias in Willowmore.

Another “you have to stop here” – Sophia’s shop is an experience, filled with boere remnants, wedding dresses, lights, furniture and delicious home made lunch. Once again super driver Lee excelled and we drove through the Meiringspoort Pass. Wow!

Sophia recommended Vergeet My Niet. A gem in Prince Albert – a small farm, with a beautiful pool in a stunning garden. Had dinner at the Gallery thanks to Brent the owner who found a table for the 3 Silver Bullets – it was Valentines Day. Every meisie in every town wore red. The food was delicious. Lynden and I put the pilot to bed and dashed off to Marion and Brian Finches’ new spot. What another treat. A haven for bikers, rock n rollers and people who love Jack Daniels. Brian you rock and Marion you too have created a unique spot.

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Day 16: Homeward bound. Early adventure up the Swartberg Pass – it is something every South African (and visitor) must do at least once in their lives. Chjoo it is scary but beautiful. Meandering through Calitzdorp and Barrydale where Lee – the best shopper in SA, found exactly what I was looking for. Handwoven Cotton. Heaven on earth. R180 per metre for handmade. Lynden by now has had enough or Lee and I stopping at each and every craft shop from Hogsback to Montagu. SUPPORT LOCAL CRAFT – it is cheap and to die for. Iced Coffees with Phillipe (ex Oak Lodge) and his beautiful kids.

Can’t wait for the next trip!

South Africa named “Best Hostel Country” in Hostelling International’s 2011 “HI-5ives!” awards Fri, 09 Dec 2011 11:50:19 +0000

South Africa was named the “Best Hostel Country” in Hostelling International’s  2011 “HI-5ives!” awards.
Hostellers who left ratings on the website during 2011 have had their say and awards have been handed out in the following five categories: Best Hostel Country, Best Overall Hostel, Friendliest Hostel, Most Comfortable Hostel, Most Efficient Hostel.
All award categories were based on ratings received during a 12 month period, from 1 November 2010 to 31 October 2011. During those 12 months, a minimum of 5 customer ratings in average per month was required to qualify. A hostel can only win one award category each year.

Best Hostel Country – South Africa:

The 35 hostels in South Africa have pulled in the best ratings overall for a single destination. This is a fantastic accolade for a network which was formed just one year ago. Ranging from fantastic beach side retreats to gateways of some of the best safari parks in the whole world, every SA hostel has something very special to offer an adventurous traveler—Cape-Town–The-Backpack-064048.en.htm

Toni and Lee on Chippa’s Township Tour Mon, 21 Nov 2011 18:12:46 +0000 I am usually proud to be a South African, love my work and every morning get so excited to get to The Backpack.  Today showed me another side of South Africa, one that I have seen a few times but never did I feel so sad after a tour. Chippa our guide was excellent to say the least, to see where he grew up and against all odds he has made something of his life.  I am honoured to know him and work with him.  The walking tour of Langa is not the usual township tour.  It is different – because you walk, and the longer you walk, the harder it gets.  I am a privelaged white South African, working hard to make a difference, and yet after today, I support the ideals of the ANC Youth League.  I did my first township tour in 1996 when the hostels (the less than humane living conditions for migrant men workers) were allowed to bring their wives. 3 families sharing one room the size of my bathroom, each family with an average of 6 members. From 60 people upwards living in a 4 roomed apartment. With little ventilation, so TB and other diseases are passed around with ease. Sex?  Well that’s open for all and all ages – as Chippa says, “there are no role models here”.  I can’t imagine how Cape Town deserves to be called ” a wonder of the world” or the design capital of the world’ or the “hippest city in the world” But rather it should hangs its head in shame.  From 1996 to today, township life has got worse – in Langa alone 49% are unemployed.  If there is any tour in Cape Town that you have to do, it should be a walking tour of Langa.  Why Langa? Within a few blocks there is Beverly Hills of Langa, alongside the most extreme poverty I have ever seen. Bucket toilets that are cleaned once a week.Where are the politicians?  Surely, some of them have experienced this life for themselves.  They should be ashamed – spending taxes on fancy holidays, renovating mansions and driving posh cars. It is no wonder that I see more Malemas on the horizon and this time I will be on their side. Malema is accused of hiding behind causes of the poor – but how can we hide the poor?  Thank you to all my guests that have bought a township tour – your contribution makes an enormous difference to many peoples lives in this suburb that happens to be the oldest township in Cape Town. Thank you Chippa and all your colleagues who allow us into their private lives – human zoo – maybe?  South Africa is different from many countries, in that tourists and journalists regard South Africa as a country filled with hope – well from their mouths to God’s ears. Viva South Africa, Amandla South Africa!

Quick visit to Hout Bay Fri, 18 Nov 2011 11:04:06 +0000 Tuariq, Jenny and Conroy during a quick tour of Hout Bay before going to ABC For Life Fundraiser (November 2011).  Jenny is a volunteer at GCU Academy in Heideveld

Eating Out v.s Eating In Fri, 21 Oct 2011 14:22:12 +0000 This past week Toni and I went out to see what was in our neighbourhood to recommend to our guests and of course we like to keep up to date with whats out there. There were a couple of places that were on my immediate list. The first one  we went into –  Skinny Legs and All – we were feeling oh so lucky as we got the park right outside the door (that should have been a sign!!!) and the window seat, looked around the sparse interior and then the even sparser menu which claimed whisps of lettuce in the salad – my mind was working overtime ……… and we looked at each other and both moved right out the shop as fast as we could. There did not seem to be a thing we wanted on the menu. Sorry girls! loved the name, did not think much of your menu.

…So off to our second choice Hemelhuijs a little walk around the block (the city is full of places to eat so we really are spoilt for choice) It has such a lovely interior and it has just changed its winter outfit from Black walls to spring Greens and looks lovely,  fresh and exciting.  Here I was not that impressed with my salad in the end I did not like the prawns at all. They were glassy and tasteless and not white and juicy and would not hurry back here at all  but for the fact that Toni had ordered the steak and kidney pie and that was awesome!!  Crispy flaky top lovely bits of meat in a  delicious gravy and hot all the way through. Well done will it another try.

But back to my picture. I had some smoked salmon at home and brought it to work this week and asked Dave our Chef what he could do with it. It was breakfast time and he immediately said Salmon Eggs Benedict and I said YES so this is  what turned up on my desk and it was soooooooooooooo delicious that we have put it on our menu for Sunday morning as a special so come on and give it a whirl I can guarantee you will not be disappointed!  So eating in for me was the best experience this week.

Daves Salmon Eggs Benedict

Coffee Bay – Surfing, community and landscapes – Eleni on the Road Thu, 21 Jul 2011 13:26:05 +0000

Wonderful village walk on the Wild Coast


Well, surfing was unbelievable! Third or fourth attempt and I was up! Yippee!!! There were a couple of bruises the next day, but it was absolutely worth it. Plus the water was WARM! Divine. Anyone who goes to Coffee Bay must go do a surfing lesson, especially since its super duper cheap, you can’t go wrong.

Monday was a Village Walking Tour around the neighbouring villages. We were shown around how the locals live their daily lives. They have to sometimes walk a few km’s to get their drinking water, and that all their food is made on fires, as there is no electricity in their homes. It truly makes you grateful for what you have in your own home. The tour group was welcomed into one of the local family’s home for lunch, where as is their tradition us ladies, sat on the floor and the men sat on chairs. The main item on our lunch plate was PAP! (that is traditional mielie-meal porridge a staple of the nation made from maize meal)

We were also shown how they do the traditional clay face-painting. There is a photo of Tina and how they painted her face. I have also attached a photo of me, during one of our resting breaks, where you are able to see the absolutely stunning view from the hills in villages.


Our last night ended with the entire hostel playing killer pool! While everyone afterwards was shown the real way to drink a flaming sambucca! UGH!

Tuesday saw me heading back to Port Elizabeth before my “Groot Trek” back home to Cape Town. And Tina and Lize carrying on their journey to Cintsa for one night and then onto Hogsback for a night or two.